Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paci Free

It's been 2 months now that we have had a paci free house, and I feel like we've reached a big enough milestone to talk about it without jinxing it.  No, I'm not talking about the little sister - she's never had one.  Grace was our paci fiend.

It started when she was 2 weeks old.  We suffered through 2 weeks because the nurse at the hospital said it would cause nipple confusion.  As soon as the 2 week mark arrived, our lives became easier thanks to the people at Mam.  From then on, Grace and her paci were best buds.  As she got older, she preferred one in the mouth and one in each hand. We went through several different brands, but they each got the same result - love.  It was hilarious to witness her speech development with her beloved paci.  She first called it a pa.  Then it became pa-pa, pappy, patsy, patsia, and finally paci.

We were told by her doctor at her 2 year checkup that we really should take it away.  However, we didn't for several reasons.  One, she wasn't a great sleeper in the first place.  We really didn't want to take away our ace in the hole for getting her to sleep.  Second, she was cute staring at you with those big green eyes sucking away as if she was an addict getting her fix.  Third, the terrible 2's had just made their grand entrance.  When Grace was thrashing on the floor making sounds that resembled a rabid animal, popping the paci in her mouth was evidence that it lived up to its name - pacifier.  Once the paci was in her mouth, the tantrum stopped as if a light switch had been flipped.  And, lastly, we can reason with Grace and talk through a lot of things logically with her, so we tried to explain why she didn't need a paci.  It was a no-go.  The issue of giving them to a new baby at church came up.  Her logical answer - that baby's mama needed to buy him his own pacis.  When we talked about her just not using them anymore, full blown panic attacks ensued.  Loss of breath, inability to talk, and shaking followed.  In short, taking away her paci scared us!

Throughout this last year, though, several things made us realize that Grace was indeed ready to give up the paci.  Children who can spell their own name, sing the ABC's, recite nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme, and reason with you about why Sweet Tarts are a healthy breakfast do not need a paci.  The kicker came when mid tantrum, Grace said she needed her paci, and it could be found in her purse beside her lipstick.  Ooookaaay, it's definitely time to take the paci when it's located beside the cosmetics in your handbag.

Over Christmas break, we mustered up the courage to do it.  We initially limited paci use to nap time and bed time.  This was a huge step for her since she was used to having it pretty much all day.  After a few days of that, we told her that she wouldn't be getting it that evening at bed.  She wasn't happy, but avoided a meltdown.  That night, in a matter of fact way, she told Justin and me that she knew she wasn't getting her paci anymore; that she was a big girl.  Talk about a mama and a daddy blinking back the tears.  The last piece of babyhood was gone.

Grace found a paci in the car a few weeks ago and like the big girl she is, she simply handed it to me.  And, this weekend when Emma Kate found a paci, she hardly paid attention.  I had worried about situations such as these, but I underestimated Grace.  The infatuation is gone.

The last 2 months, we've seen plenty of moments where I wish I could pop that paci in and end the tantrum.  And, I'm sure she would have seen much less of the time out spot if the paci had been an option.  But, I'm so glad we don't have to make sure there are spare pacis beside the bed or in the bag.  And, it's funny how much older she seems now.  She's getting to be a big girl, but taking away the paci didn't change one thing. Even though she does know her ABC's and nursery rhymes, and even though she'll be going to preschool next year and we've moved into the big girl section instead of the baby section at department stores, Grace will always be my baby.  Always.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I thought this was the Deep South

More snow?!  I thought Georgia was far enough below the Mason Dixon to avoid multiple snows per winter.  What happened to those so called mild winters?

Nevertheless, snow and ice blanketed our town.  This time, the snow was perfect for snowman building.  The snowgirl, as Grace demanded, was named Sarah - also dictated by Grace.

I just love this picture and how Emma Kate and Grace are walking so closely together.  I hope they will always be this close.

Yes, she's wearing a dress in the snow.  She insists on it.  Every. Single. Day.
Did I mention Grace likes dresses? :)

And, here's a comparison shot of Grace's first snowman in January 2008.  She was 10 months old.  Hard to believe she'll be 3 years old in less than a month.  My how time flies!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Mine

Valentine's Day just passed and I'm sure all of us were hugging our valentines and stocking up on chocolate.  Oh wait, maybe that last one is just me...

Anyway, in honor of Valentine's Day, here are a few of the little and not so little things I love.

I love my God.  I am continuously amazed by all the ways God provides for us.  I am thankful that He is in control.

I love Grace's desire to be as fru fru as possible.  Even though she insists on a dress every day, and she tells me my hair doesn't look pretty in a pony tail, and thinks pink is the only color in the rainbow, and even though I am certain I'm paying for my raising, I love the girly girl in Grace.  Fancy Nancy aint got nothin' on Miss Sassy Pants!

I love the way Emma Kate is starting to give Miss Sassy Pants a run for her money.  I love the way a resounding "BEEP BEEP!" is heard if anyone is blocking Emma Kate's way.  And I have to admit, the kid in me giggled when Grace ended up in the floor after Emma Kate pulled her off the ride along toy Santa brought.

I love the little things Justin does.  Like when he fixes me something to drink while I'm feeding Emma Kate, or starts my car on cold mornings.  I love the patience he has with Grace and Emma Kate.

I love that our families live close by, and they are such an integral part of our lives.

I love that even though my girls argue over toys and some days they seem to fight more than anything else, they really love each other.  I love how they want to hold hands all the time and help each other.

I love being a teacher at Valentine's Day.  What other profession are you given that much chocolate as gifts and given a free pass to eat it?

I love my little Eskimo boots I got for Christmas.  And, what a perfect winter to wear knee high boots covered in fur!

I love the dimple in Grace's chin, the curl of Emma Kate's hair, the way Grace says "actually" every other sentence, and the way Emma Kate pretends to jabber on the phone and read books.  I love when Grace says "I love you" unprompted and when Emma Kate snuggles and throws her chubby little arms around my neck.  I love Grace's big tales and the way Emma Kate seems to gobble like a turkey when she gets mad.  I love to listen to my girls pray and sing.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day, got to spend time with your Valentine, reflected on the little things you love, and cheated just a little bit on that New Year's diet to enjoy some chocolate. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Fashionista

Grace is opinionated to say the least.  And when it comes to fashion, the girl is absolutely bull headed.  She has recently come to the conclusion that the world needs to be greeted by a dress every day.  Every. Single. Day.  I've tried giving her ensemble choices, but those end up being thrown, stomped, and cried over.  I've tried forcing her into an outfit, but that resembles a fight with a rabid wild cat.

So this morning when she asked what she was going to wear and I was abrubtly cut off by "NO!" after I got out "purple pa.." I decided that some days just aren't worth the fight.  This was the result:

"Luh Ooh"

Happy 16 months to my sweet Emma Kate!  It's so hard to believe that nearly a year and a half ago Grace became a big sister and our number of babies doubled!  It has been so fun to watch Emma Kate change from a baby to a little girl almost over night and witness the love between 2 sisters.

Emma Kate's latest developments have mostly been verbal, but there are a couple of physical developments to speak of.  Toddling and stumbling have given way to running and climbing.  It's so funny when Emma Kate runs around the living room furniture joining in a game of choo-choo train with Grace and Daddy or more often, running to escape the clutches of her big sister.  Her little legs seem to be moving a mile a minute, but only going a few inches forward at a time.  And, she tries to climb on everything.  And I do mean everything!  I'm sure she would be much more successful at this feat if her legs were longer.  The little peanut is built like her mama in the height department. :)

It amazes me what little minds can absorb.  Emma Kate can understand most directions, if not always follow them, and gets highly offended if Grace tries to beat her in completing a task she's been assigned.  For example, when Emma Kate needs a diaper change, we ask her to get the diaper, wipes, and diaper cream from the credenza.  Her process is to get one item at a time.  If Grace gets impatient and tries to help her, the toddler in Emma Kate emerges.  Oh yes, the stomping of feet, flailing of arms, screeching at the top of lungs, and throwing one's self on the floor have begun.  Let me reiterate my affirmation from an earlier post - the terrible 2's are not courteous enough to wait until the 2nd birthday (and they are going to need to make a quick departure if they are to end by the 3rd birthday as Grace turns 3 in a matter of weeks)!

Emma Kate's verbal skills are multiplying daily.  Much of what she says sounds like a language from a remote African tribe, and she expects you to understand every word and give an appropriate response.  But, the number of real words and phrases is growing too quickly to keep count as well.  One of the cutest is an exchange between Papa and his girls.  As an ode to the old Jeremiah Johnson movie quote, Papa frequently bids adieu with "Watch your top-knot" to which Grace replies "Yorn too."  Emma Kate has decided to join in on the fun and will often say "Knot-knot...tooooo."  You can only imagine Papa's pride.  My most recent favorite - "I love you."  It actually comes out "Luh ooh," but it is heart melting to hear that sweet phrase and feel those little chubby arms around your neck.  Just ask the big tough men in her life. :)  Emma Kate's love for showing affection is incessant and I hope she will always be that free with it.

What a wonderful 16 months it has been to be Mama to 2 sisters who fuss, tease, and reluctantly share, but always begin and end the day with a hug for each other.  I am so thankful to serve a God who has blessed me with this opportunity.